More than any other performance art, spoken-word is subject to stereotypes. Everyone knows that spoken-word is read only in dark clubs, only by beret-wearing neo-beatniks who rant and rave about the revolution with pre-programmed flows and unoriginal deliveries. Everyone knows that spoken-word can be austere and preachy or screamingly emphatic…but never funky.
Enter e.g. bailey. Over a fun, stuttering house beat produced by Germany’s Starskie, the Twin Cities poet and educator proves that you can indeed dance to spoken-word. The piece itself refers to Olaudah Equiano, a former slave whose autobiography became a major piece of the abolitionist struggle, and touches on the continuing struggle for justice, the importance of the arts and what “freedom” means in the age of Obama and beyond, for both African-Americans and Africans. It’s neither a typical club song nor a typical spoken-word track, but bailey has never been a typical artist.
The free download is available at these links: truruts.bandcamp.com
The original version of ‘Oracles of Equiano’, featuring a group of Igbo nuns, will be released on e.g. bailey’s debut album, AMERICAN AFRIKAN, in 2010 on Tru Ruts/Speakeasy Records.